News World In the heart of Paris, a wounded Notre-Dame stirs emotions

In the heart of Paris, a wounded Notre-Dame stirs emotions

Early morning runners stopped in their tracks, dumb-founded. Across the river, still smouldering, loomed the burnt-out form of Notre-Dame de Paris, its spire collapsed, its bell towers and buttresses standing silent in the dawn light.

“Blessée, mais vivante,” tweeted Henrik Enderlein, the director of the Jacques Delors Institute, alongside pictures of the shattered shell of the Gothic masterpiece that sits at the heart of Paris. “Wounded, but alive.”

After a night during which more than 400 firefighters toiled for 15 hours to quell a blaze that tore through the 12th century cathedral, Parisians and visitors were struggling to absorb the enormity of the disaster.

Days before the commemoration of Easter, a church that has stood as a monument to the Catholic faith and a symbol of France for nearly nine centuries had been eviscerated by an inferno that police believe may have started by accident.

Lech Kurek, a 38-year-old visiting with his wife from Poland, said they had been left shell-shocked.

“I am praying and my wife is singing,” he said. “It is just crazy and surreal… For Christians, it is terrible ahead of Easter.”

President Emmanuel Macron visited the site on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the River Seine, on Monday night and pledged that Notre-Dame would be rebuilt, no matter what it takes.

The rival owners of France’s two biggest luxury and fashion empires, Francois-Henri Pinault of Kering and Bernard Arnault of LVMH, said they were donating 100 million euros and 200 million euros to the restoration respectively. Oil company Total pledged 100 million. The city of Paris said it would provide 50 million.

For Olivier Lebib, an artisan who has lived in Paris for 40 years, it is essential the cathedral is restored to its glory.

“Notre-Dame is our sister, it is so sad, we are all mourning — Parisians, French people, tourists, the Chinese, the whole planet,” he said. “Thank God that the stone structure has withstood the fire.”


The cathedral is one of Paris’s most popular landmarks, welcoming more than 13 million visitors a year, and no doubt features in the photo albums of just about anyone who has taken snapshots in the French capital. Gone, now, is the 91 metre spire that has stood atop it since the mid-1800s.

“It’s an emotional strain for the whole nation,” said Pierre-Herve Grosjean, 41, a priest from Versailles, who noted the cathedral’s role as a national rallying place in 2015 after Islamist gunmen and bombers killed 130 people in a rampage.

“No one is left indifferent. After the terror attacks, everyone gathered at Notre-Dame.”

On Tuesday morning, there were still groups standing vigil on the banks of the Seine looking towards the cathedral, some singing, some in silent prayer in the week that Christians mark the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

“This fire is a prophetic message, it is a call for repentance,” said Josiane, a retired shop assistant and devout Christian. “During the holy week, the virgin has covered herself with ashes, it is a call for repentance. Only God can save us.”


Top Stories

Greece suspends Qatar flights till mid-June after 12 test positive

Greece on Tuesday suspended flights to and from Qatar after 12 individuals on a plane from Doha tested positive for the new coronavirus. The individuals...

Masks mandatory for bus passengers from June 9

  Buses will from June 9 be able to carry passengers at full capacity, but all passengers must wear masks, the Transport Ministry said on...

Limassol: Fire raging near Yermasoyia dam

  Fire fighters have responded to a large fire which broke out near Yermasoyia dam on Tuesday afternoon. Philenews reports that the fire is raging fairly...

Vienna State Opera’s full programme of June streaming performances

Vienna State Opera has published its programme of online streaming performances for June 2020. June 1 – Die Frau Ohne Schatten Performance of October 18, 2019 starring...

Three test positive for Covid-19, total now 952

  Three people have tested positive for coronavirus after 1473 tests bringing the total to 952, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. One is a pupil...


Poulles (Υoung kolokassi)

Either you thrash the coriander seeds in a mortar, without making them into dust, or you gradually crush them in a blender. Remove the edges...

Pork cooked in wine

Crush the coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar or pulse-blend in a blender, taking care not to over-grind. Put the meat in bowl (not...

Lefkaritikos tavas – O ‘protinos’

Wash and dry the meat and rice separately. In a ‘tava’ (oven proof deep clay pot) first put a layer of five-six pieces of meat...

Local cuisine: An introduction

Rich in fresh ingredients and tasty herbs, offers the very best of Mediterranean culinary delights. Head out to a tavern and feast on a...